AS COVID-19 FEARS subside, travelers are significantly less concerned about safety during travel, driving a significant rebound in travel activity, according to a survey by travel risk and crisis response provider Global Rescue. Most are vaccinated, or have recently recovered from COVID-19.
The 2021 fall Global Rescue Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey revealed that nearly 86 percent of travelers have taken domestic trips, and 42 percent have traveled internationally, since the start of the pandemic last year.
The survey was conducted among more than 1,500 of the firm’s current and former members between Oct. 26 to 30, 2021.
“Between April and October, there’s been a 74 percent jump in people taking domestic trips and an enormous 207 percent increase in individuals traveling internationally,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.
According to the survey, fear of COVID-19-related quarantine or infection while traveling declined by 37 percent compared to January 2021.
Three out of four survey respondents said they are “less” or “much less” concerned about travel today compared to the beginning of the pandemic, reflecting a 65 percent improvement in individual concerns about travel compared to traveler attitudes in early 2021.
As many as 73 percent of respondents to the survey said they were vaccinated, or recovered from a COVID-19 infection, and more than half of respondents, 53 percent, said having medical evacuation protection gives them sufficient peace of mind to travel.
“Since the pandemic, there’s been a 30 percent increase in travelers designating medical evacuation as the most important travel protection needed. COVID-19 brought to light the limitations of travel insurance and the importance of having a separate medical support and evacuation safety net that includes medical evacuation and transport for COVID-19,” Richards said. “COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are successfully saving lives. People are keeping their fingers crossed in the hopes the end of the pandemic is near. Unfortunately, government officials haven’t found and applied a standardized system that will encourage a return to international business and leisure travel.”
A third of survey takers, 36 percent, said choosing uncrowded or remote destinations was an important factor to feel safe enough to travel.
A recent survey by media company Future plc., travelers in the U.S. already are planning their next vacation for 2022.
The New York Times reported that more than 200,000 people flew to the U.S. on November 8 when the country lifted travel restrictions.